NOAA, NASA launch weather satellite

NOAA, NASA launch weather satellite

By Tony Lee Orr

GCN Staff

MAY 9—The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA recently launched the latest in a series of weather satellites into orbit.

The fourth in a series of five, Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-11 will orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth with a full-disc view of the world, officials said.

GOES-11 is especially important because it replaces a unit working beyond its life expectancy and on a number of backup systems, according to a report issued by the General Accounting Office in March. A backup unit that would have replaced the ailing satellite was already placed into service when another satellite showed signs of failure in 1998, long before its scheduled retirement, GAO reported.

The agency positions one unit to cover the Atlantic and the other to observe the Pacific.

The ailing unit will continue operation until it fails, said Gerry Dittberner, NOAA's GOES program manager. At that time, the new unit will be pressed into service.

The last satellite in the series is set for launch in July 2001, officials said.

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